We wanted to get the opinions of high school students on three main topics. School security, mental health, and the COVID-19 pandemic Felicia Rodriguez sat down with eight students to get their personal thoughts. I’d like to take the opportunity to welcome all of you to the Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach. Thank you for your time over the summer. We have seen numerous school shootings. Have these shootings affected you in any way this summer. You would think you want to go out, have fun with your friends or just be *** teenager in general in living your life. But now you would rather stay at home because you’re afraid that if you go to *** party, you might not come home. *** lot of people are already unhinged as is and you never know what they might have going on. So they might not be in the right headspace and you know, being around those people might be difficult for you to enjoy yourself and things like that. So it’s very, very hard. There’s people who are mentally ill and feel as though they can’t get help. I think that at least my school has done *** good job at making sure we can get mental help if we need it. And I think it’s being taken care of *** lot better. But I feel like there’s *** lot of people who are still having issues speaking up about their personal uh feelings or mental health. It just makes you mad and scared because you’re going back to school and you don’t know if that’s gonna be you on tv one day and you you know possibly being hurt and just the fact that people are in so much pain and really need that help and there aren’t really receiving it it’s just sad, you never know what’s gonna happen so you might as well just live to the fullest, you never know whether someone’s gonna come in with *** gun, shoot everybody up or you just never know. So I don’t know it sounds to me like the like the reality has hit you and that it has really scared you all. It’s definitely coming close to home especially when it’s you know kids our age and things like that and even younger which is way more devastating even though it argues but it’s definitely getting close to home. Speaking of close to home, the Parkland shooter sentencing trial is also happening right now. Does that conjure up any emotions or feelings? Absolutely the things that are happening on tv you don’t really like understand it to the fullest until you’re really in that type of situation now if the fire alarm goes off we can’t even trust that and that’s personally making me question what we can even trust in the schools anymore and I think that they’ve done *** really good job at increasing the security and safety but you know to an extent there’s only so much that can be done in that situation it’s just kind of chaos, you know everyone doesn’t really know what they’re doing and you know you’re trying to get out and the police are trying to get in and you’re it’s chaos, you know having *** system like that is just nerve wracking like she said with the fire alarm, anything could happen at *** certain time and you wouldn’t even really know what’s happening. I think I. D. Badges for students should be more strictly enforced because there was some, well there’s people who can blend in with students and come on campus and *** staff member can think oh they must go to the school if they’re coming and because we’re not so used to, if you don’t have your I. D. Badge, you can’t enter, people can get hurt badly that way. So that should be more strictly enforced, especially in public schools, so not everybody wears an I. D. Badge um pompey central there now enforcing like you have to wear your I. D. Badge point all the time around school and you can get in trouble if you don’t, I feel like it’s also extremely important like during the mornings when everyone is coming in to make sure that they’re getting checked, especially because during the day like the doors are locked. The sad reality is most of the school shooters are teens our age who have mental health problems so they could even be attending those schools, so really having that secure um security in place, it would be *** really good idea I want to piggyback on something that you all have brought up mental health. It’s *** big topic um, when it comes to teenagers, is this something that you see as *** problem with your friends and kids, your age, when it comes to anxiety and depression, It’s interesting to see how like the people that you’ve known for the longest time, all of some of them, it’s been something that they’ve had since their childhood, other them are just automatically just popped up out of nowhere and they’re already having these such doubts about themselves and really becoming very like lonely and closed off if you know what I’m saying. And it’s like, hey, I want to get you the help, but you can’t receive the help if you don’t want it. There is *** state of almost uselessness you feel like because I feel like almost every teenager nowadays has some sort of problem or issue or mental health that they are going through and sometimes it’s just like you don’t really know what to do to help. We’re just kids. You know, it’s the fact that we have *** lot of responsibility on ourselves to help other people and we want to help, but we really don’t want to know what to do. So having those resources available to us would change so many things. It’s difficult because *** lot of things that should not be normalized are being normalized through social media and there’s such *** minimal amount of things that can be done to avoid that. I mean you can do all you want to try to be healthy or fit *** social image. But social media at the end of the day is going to normalize things that shouldn’t be normalized and take apart *** lot of self esteem, which I feel are the leading issues to *** lot of mental illnesses right now. It’s just been taken as *** joke, especially with like, like somebody will be like, oh my gosh, like I’m suicidal or I have depression just because they’re feeling sad and it’s not like it’s not the same thing at all. They’re two completely different things. Yeah. To further her statement, I believe *** lot of people do that because they need attention or they might not get the attention that they need and things like that. And *** reason, *** big reason that *** lot of these people commit the mass shootings and things like they do is for attention because you see there on the news for months and months pictures and videos and everything and that’s what they wanted all along was attention. So people, you know, finally see them. So let me ask the boys in their room, do you talk to your friends about what’s wrong for me? I think it’s easier to fix it myself instead of reaching out to other people. Why do you think boys are more reluctant to seek help? Yeah, definitely Because mostly when that toxic masculinity sort of things going on in society? But for me personally, I find it it’s not where I don’t want to seek help. It’s that I feel as though I am okay and half the time it’s not that I don’t want to reach out is that I can handle the things sometimes on my own. It’s like, hey, I know how to handle this. So I handle it my way, sort of thing. And I feel like my efforts go better when I’m trying to help other people. Boys tend to like not like, so if they’re like talking to their friends sometimes you have like *** type of friends. I just think you’re just joking about it and it will take you seriously. Sometimes that’s like one of the main reasons why boys don’t talk about their feelings. *** lot man could have an issue that the same thing *** young lady is having and to like someone could look at it totally different just because they’re *** boy. And I’m not sure exactly why, but it’s just been going like that for *** while. You know, men are taught to be strong and to not cry and everything like that. So *** lot of people automatically think that we’ll be able to figure it out on our own because that’s you know what we’ve been taught to do our entire lives. So moving on to the next topic, the pandemic has changed our way of life. How did it affect you? And are you worried about another surge in cases? And what that could mean for the school year? If another search would have happened, I would be devastated because that this is my senior year and it’s like my last year of high school and I really don’t want anything to take that away from me, not even just with school, but at home to, it completely messes up your daily schedules and your routines and things like that. And it’s always hard to get back into those rhythms once you’ve stopped and you know, changing and things like that for me, Covid happened my spring break *** freshman year. So I’m thinking, okay, maybe we’ll just get two weeks and then my next, my next time walking back into the school was my junior year. So that was crazy. And now going into my, my senior year, I am very terrified if we have another search because I do want to go to homecoming prom singer nights and I do want to walk the stage and I can have enough tickets for my family. You know, you guys have earned that personally. Like I had *** really hard time. I felt like I was depressed because I’m *** social person. I want to be outside. I want to see my friends and you need that human connection. People are not meant to be locked in *** room for two years and to try and learn and live your life. It was awful and so many kids had such *** hard time and we weren’t even school so we didn’t have those mental health resources like we really need and we need all that stuff. Are you guys looking forward to getting back to normal? Yes. Well, I would like to thank all of you for your honesty and your candidness today and for sharing your feelings about all the topics we discussed today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
We sat down with eight local high school students for a panel discussion on their concerns about the new school year. They were free to discuss any topic that concerned them.The three topics they were most interested in talking about were school safety, mental health and the pandemic.WATCH: WPBF 25 News Back-to-School special When asked about their concerns regarding school safety, the students reflected on the disturbing number of mass shootings we’ve seen this summer. From the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, to the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and the Fourth of July Parade shooting in Highland Park. They were honest and candid with their answers. Many admit how afraid they are of something like that happening close to home.From the topic of mass shootings, we transitioned into mental health and anxiety among teens. Students on the panel felt poor mental health was becoming normalized and that some teens were using it as a cop-out. But overall, everyone agreed the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. New to Florida? Here’s how to enroll your children in schoolThe teens expressed their concerns about another surge in cases locally and what it would mean for the school year. Freshmen entering high school worry it will take away from the overall high school experience if they have to go back to virtual learning. Seniors worry it will ruin their plans for the final year of high school.
The three topics they were most interested in talking about were school safety, mental health and the pandemic.
WATCH: WPBF 25 News Back-to-School special
When asked about their concerns regarding school safety, the students reflected on the disturbing number of mass shootings we’ve seen this summer. From the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, to the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and the Fourth of July Parade shooting in Highland Park.
They were honest and candid with their answers. Many admit how afraid they are of something like that happening close to home.
From the topic of mass shootings, we transitioned into mental health and anxiety among teens. Students on the panel felt poor mental health was becoming normalized and that some teens were using it as a cop-out. But overall, everyone agreed the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health.
New to Florida? Here’s how to enroll your children in school
The teens expressed their concerns about another surge in cases locally and what it would mean for the school year.
Freshmen entering high school worry it will take away from the overall high school experience if they have to go back to virtual learning. Seniors worry it will ruin their plans for the final year of high school.